Contact: Darren Allen, 802.224.2403 (office), 802.839.8618 (cell)
September 10, 2012
MONTPELIER – Vermont-NEA’s board of directors today is recommending a slate of statewide candidates who they believe will work to keep the state’s public education system one of the best in the nation.
At a meeting this weekend, the board recommended its members vote for the re-election of Gov. Peter Shumlin, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and Secretary of State Jim Condos. The board also recommended the election of long-time labor- and public education-supporter Sen. Vince Illuzzi for the open auditor’s seat.
The board this spring gave its nod to Treasurer Beth Pearce, saying her election was crucial to the security of the Vermont Teachers’ Retirement System.
The recommendations came after the board interviewed all statewide candidates for the races in which it offers an opinion. “We are confident that Vermonters will be well-served by these candidates, who all put the health of our state’s schools at the top of their agendas,” said Vermont-NEA President Martha Allen. “We are proud to recommend their election.”
What was striking, Allen said, was the general support of Vermont’s public schools and the men and women who teach the state’s children among all the candidates – even the ones that did not get the formal nod. On the hot-button issue of linking standardized test scores to teacher and student evaluations, the reaction this weekend from all candidates who spoke to the board was unanimous: don’t use test scores as a primary measure of teacher effectiveness or student achievement.
“We are lucky in Vermont that ensuring our schools remain the state’s most important asset is a non-partisan priority,” Allen said. “And we are gratified that each of the candidates – regardless of party – who spoke to us expressed their strong support for public school educators and children.”
The board weighed their recommendation decisions carefully. In the case of Sen. Illuzzi, the board felt strongly that he and his opponent, policy analyst Doug Hoffer, are both well-qualified and share the union’s values.
“I and my fellow board members believe that both men support policies that support public education,” Allen said. “In the end, Sen. Illuzzi’s long legislative record of loyal support to working men and women earned him our recommendation. He’s been a great friend to Vermont-NEA, and has had a major hand in passing legislation that is important to our schools and those who work in them.”